• “Three-Step Process”

    Episode 36: Mike Black, Paige Black Marketing

    18m | Sep 19, 2023
  • "Blueprint"

    Episode 35: Jeff Pugel, Ignition LLC

    15m | Sep 5, 2023
  • “Rubber or Glass”

    Episode 34: Laura Crothers, Crothers Consulting, LLC

    21m | Aug 10, 2023
  • “Being Part of People’s Success and Happiness”

    Episode 33: Christy Maxfield, Purpose First Advisors

    22m | Jul 11, 2023
  • “CFO Your Way Team Introduction”

    Special Episode 32: “CFO Your Way Team Introduction” with

    Cheryl Mucha, Founder & CEO

    Steven Blankrot, CPA – Manager

    Lucille Gabel, Bookkeeper

    Lorraine Geist, Bookkeeper

    Stephanie Guillen, Business assistant

    Megan O’Brien, Bookkeeper


    18m | Jun 6, 2023
  • “A Human Connector and Communicator”

    Episode 31: Michelle Vernuccio, President of the North Jersey Chamber of Commerce

    21m | May 25, 2023
  • "A More Personalized Touch”

    Episode 30: Kirsten Toler, KMT Consulting, LLC

    22m | May 11, 2023
  • “Are You Running Your Business or Is Your Business Running You?”

    Michele Mollard, Professional EOS Implementer®

    28m | Apr 27, 2023
  • “Find Something That You Really Love to Do”

    Episode 28: Danny Wood, Sandler Training

    24m | Apr 13, 2023
  • “The Red Chair Experience”

    Episode 27: Chris Michel, Author | Coach Chris Owner & Founder

    22m | Mar 30, 2023
  • "Digging Under the Surface"

    Episode 26: Martina Kuhlmeyer, Power Up Your Team

    21m | Mar 16, 2023
  • "Authentic Advice"

    Episode 25: Kat Frey, Oxygen Coaching Group

    25m | Mar 14, 2023
  • “Speak to Write Your Book”

    Episode 24: Michael DeLon, Paperback Expert


    [00:00:00] Welcome to the Pathways to Profitability Podcast, Personal Tales of Business Success, where we hear local business owners personal stories of their trials and tribulations that got them to where they are today. Here's your host, Cheryl Mucha, CEO of CFO Your way.

    Cheryl Mucha: Thank you so much for being here with us today.

    Cheryl Mucha: I am super excited about this conversation that we are going to have with Michael Delon, president of Paperback Expert. Michael, thank you so much for taking the time to be here with me today.

    Michael DeLon: Cheryl, you are so welcome. I've been looking forward to this. It's gonna be such a fun conversation. Thanks for having me.

    Cheryl Mucha: So I’d like to just give our audience a little bit of a background of who Michael is. Then we'll get into the deep dive of all about the company and how you started and all that good stuff. So just give us a brief background.

    Michael DeLon: Yeah, well, all right. So, I always tell people, listen fast, cuz I'm gonna give you the big background in a really [00:01:00] short period of time. Okay?

    Michael DeLon: And that will give us lots of things to talk about. So, first of all, I'm a follower of Christ. I've been married 32 years. My wife and I got married in 90 and the first five years of our marriage, Cheryl, were like this, yes, my wife and I are complete opposites. And so we fought. Even though she and I grew up in church, nobody taught us how to be married. And so we really struggled In the first few years of our marriage, we finally went to a marriage conference from a ministry called Family Life, and they revealed to us God's blueprints for marriage. And I didn't know God had blueprints. So we got those blueprints, we applied them, our marriage started to grow.

    Michael DeLon: At that time, I was working in Christian radio, selling Christian radio to local business owners. I learned pretty quickly business owners did not wanna buy Christian radio. They wanted to sell their, their products or their services. So I had a choice to make. Cheryl, I could either become really good at selling or really good at marketing.

    Michael DeLon: So I chose marketing. I read the books, I went to the seminars, I followed the gurus, and I learned how to do marketing for small business owners. So my business [00:02:00] started to grow because I helped my clients' business grow. Now fast forward, that was it, like early nineties. Fast forward to about 2000. God let us out of that Christian radio station to a startup.com when I was out trying to sell websites and banner ads to car dealerships who didn't even have websites.

    Michael DeLon: So I did that for a couple years, but that company was ahead of its time, Cheryl. That means it went bankrupt and Oh wow. So I found myself staying in my, in my living room when day, looking up at the ceiling going, God, what am I supposed to do now? And he spoke to a heart. He says, Michael, I want you in a Ministry of families and I want you family life.

    Michael DeLon: That ministry that changed. I said, wow, why didn't I think of that? And so we raised our support for two years cuz it's a missionary organization. We moved from Indiana down to Little Rock, Arkansas, which was their world headquarters. And I thought I hit Nirvana, man, Cheryl. This was, why would I ever leave this place?

    Michael DeLon: It did everything that I wanted to do is help people build marriages and families. Wow. So I served there six years later, I was on the leadership team of that ministry, Cheryl, and then they started going through those corporate [00:03:00] reorganizations Well, after the third reorg, they rolled out the new chart and my name was no longer on the Land of Fame.

    Michael DeLon: Yeah, that's what I said. So they started shuffle me around the ministry, and that was two, uh, uh, the beginning of a two year, what I call prison term, because I found myself in a job that I hated at a ministry that I love. So after two years, I finally gave up. I said, I gotta get out of this thing. God, what?

    Michael DeLon: What can I do? And he said, what do you. I said, I wanna go help small business owners with marketing because they struggle with it, they hate it, and I love it. And he said, go. So on January 1st, 2013, I escaped from prison and I started a marketing consulting firm in Little Rock, Arkansas. And I'd call you, I'd say, Cheryl, I think I can help you grow your business.

    Michael DeLon: You'd meet with me. We'd have a great conversation. And you'd say, Michael, what have you done in the last few years? Who have you helped? And I'd say I, I've helped build marriages and families at family life and you'd say, Michael, that's honorable. Way to go. Oh, look at the time I've got another meeting. Let's reschedule.

    Michael DeLon: And you shut, usher [00:04:00] me out the door. Nobody would hire me. And I said, I gotta fix this. So I went to watch your second floor. I, I remember where it was, I was pacing the hallways saying, God, how do I help Cheryl? Cause I know I can. And he said, Michael, I wanna shake all your marketing strategies and put them in a book.

    Michael DeLon: That's so I did. Wow. So I published my book on marketing. Then Cheryl, I would call you and send an appointment. I'd mail a copy of my book to you. A week later, I'd walk into your office for our meeting. And there it was. My book was on your desk. It was dog-eared, highlighted, underlined. You'd read my book and in that meeting you'd say, Michael, in your book, you said, how do you, you do that? And you'd hire me, and the next person…

    Michael DeLon: I started gaining clients. The only thing that changed between those two meetings was the fact writing book. And so I asked myself, I said, what? Why don't business owners do this? This is so cool. Well, it's challenging to write a book. There's lots to it. And so we created a, a process where now we work with busy business owners who are experts at what they [00:05:00] do, and we help them create a book without writing a word.

    Michael DeLon: And then we teach them how to use the book in their marketing to gain clients, get referrals, and grow their revenue. That's what I get to do. That's who I am and how I got here. And I hope that

    Cheryl Mucha: answers a lot of my questions that I was hoping to leave conversation

    Michael DeLon: to. Well, we're gonna, we're gonna dive deep anywhere you wanna go.

    Cheryl Mucha: So that was your first book, books that follow?

    Michael DeLon: Yeah. Well, I, I think I've written now seven or eight other books. Wow. And, and most of them are around marketing in some, in some area. A couple divert into other things, but most of them are around. 

    Cheryl Mucha: So your clients, they come to you, they write a book, I'm guessing on it can be on pretty much any topic?

    Michael DeLon: Well, in anything business related. So for instance, Cheryl, did you know anything about business finances? Right? You're an expert. I don't know. No. My, I don't do. I have, here's the, here's what I get all the time. I don't know if I have enough information to write a book. Give me a break. If you're [00:06:00] a business owner, right?

    Michael DeLon: If you're out, you have plenty of knowledge in your head.  Here's the struggle. You don't know how to get it out or how to structure it. That's what we do. So our clients don't write books. I tell people, Cheryl, all the time, never write a book. Okay? It takes too long and you'll kill yourself trying to do it because of self editing, right?

    Michael DeLon: What you want to do is speak to write your book. And with today's technology, with AI, with Google Docs, with Word, they, they will dictate your words, speak to write your book. Our entire process is interviewed based with our writers asking you questions. Cheryl, you are speaking your content. Then our writer takes your content, massages it into your book.

    Michael DeLon: Every business owner I work on, I work with is an expert at what they do. We just position 'em as an expert in the mind of their audience. Right.

    Cheryl Mucha: Fascinating. I have a million books up here in my head. There

    Michael DeLon: you go. Well, I, what is

    Cheryl Mucha: [00:07:00] just all the stories I can tell about all the situations I've experienced.

    Cheryl Mucha: Yeah. In the real world with clients or the, you know, how we help them. Like that could be a, a huge book in and of itself.

    Michael DeLon: Oh, totally. And, and it would be so compelling. I mean, one of my favorite books of all time was The One Minute Manager. Remember that from Ken Blancher? Mm-hmm. . It wasn't really parable, it was a story that I could almost retell right now because of the way it, it, it wove everything.

    Michael DeLon: Movies are stories. That book that you just mentioned, it would be great to be compelling. People would read it because they will remember the stories and every story would relate to a point of why should you need to work with Cheryl. Right at the end of the day, that that'd be a phenomenal book to write. Hey, I'll put it on my, uh, my bucket list.

    Michael DeLon: Right? There you go. There you go. You'll be yearning from me . Absolutely. We can get that thing knocked out.

    Cheryl Mucha: So, fascinating story. I love the breaking out of prison, being in prison and kind of breaking outta prison. I love that, that visual. [00:08:00] Um, and I'm, I'm guessing the, the feeling and the emotion that came with that was pretty powerful and, and being led to the next step in your journey.

    Michael DeLon: Yeah. I was gonna say, oh, I could dive deep there into the, the, the journey be or, or the, the feelings, because it was, it was both super exciting and scarier than anything I've ever done.

    Cheryl Mucha: I mean, anyone, any entrepreneur that takes that leap, it's, it's so scary. Yeah. It's, it's the fear of the unknown.

    Cheryl Mucha: Like we all have it up here. Yes. What we wanna do, what we're capable of. What knowledge we bring to the table, but to actually, like you said, go out and sell. Like, I, I never sold a day in my life, but I,

    Michael DeLon: the audacity, the, audacity of me, a ministry guy to go out and say, I can help you grow your business.

    Michael DeLon: You're a business owner. You know all this stuff, right? I mean it, yeah. So it, it took a lot of faith and a lot of [00:09:00] guts to get out there and just go, but that's what we do as entrepreneurs. We put ourselves out there. Well, we can, we can talk, we can go deep anywhere you wanna go, but I have so much to share,

    Cheryl Mucha: so much to dive into here.

    Cheryl Mucha: Yeah. But, but that entrepreneurial journey and taking that initial leap. and just figuring it out. Yeah. You know, it's, it's, then it becomes trial and error and, you know, some work, some doesn't. We take the good with the bad and we, we mold our businesses into, you know, what they are. And we continue to mold. I mean, I'm 10 years into my business, I'm still making changes.

    Michael DeLon: Well totally. And that's normal. because I, I have recreated my business not less than 10 times in 10 years. Right. I feel like a pinball. You ever played pinball, right? Ding, ding, ding. I feel like the pinball, right? And when I started my company, cuz I went out thinking I knew what business owners wanted.

    Michael DeLon: So that's what I started with. I found out very quickly that's not what they wanted. So I had to learn from the market, pivot and [00:10:00] change. I started three or four different, you know, types of marketing consulting firms trying to do different things.  When I created my book and, and the, you know, the floodgates kind of started opening, I went, okay, wow.

    Michael DeLon: I think I'm onto something. How do I market this thing now? Because that's what business owners are always thinking about. So I was marketing primarily locally at that time, and so I, and, and I don't even know Facebook was the thing back then. Uh, so I, here, here's the principle that I leaned on. Go to where the people are.

    Michael DeLon: So I thought, okay, where are my people? Where are business owners gathering? And back in that day, it was BNI, right? And so I remember sitting on my on, on a, a bed on one one. It was a Wednesday night. I Googled BNI networks in Little Rock. I found about seven of them, two of them, one of them met the next morning at 7:00 AM and another one met the next day at noon.

    Michael DeLon: I called them, I went to both of them. Wow. And, and I sat there. Cheryl room's full of like 20, 30 [00:11:00] business owners and you know, everybody does their dog and pony show. One minute speech. Most of 'em are like, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I'm blah, blah. I get up, I got up. I said, I'm Michael Delon with Paperback Expert.

    Michael DeLon: I can help you create your book without writing a word and position you as the expert in your market. Every head in the room with. You woke everyone up. That changed my business in my life. So I went to where the people are in your, in business, that's what you have to do is wear your audience and go to them with a compelling message.

    Michael DeLon: Right? And that's really Cheryl where I find most business owners are floundering, right? Is they don't have a clear, compelling message to their audience.

    Cheryl Mucha: Yeah, and it's, it sometimes it takes years to, to find that message and hone in on that message.

    Michael DeLon: It, it can, doesn't have to, it doesn't. It's, here's the secret. Okay. You ready for the secret? Take your phone. Take your [00:12:00] laptop. Invite a friend out to coffee, hit the record button and ask your friend to ask you questions about your childhood, your hobbies, your school, your your why do you do what you and answer those things right And then listen to the answers. And what you're gonna find is a theme through all of those answers.

    Michael DeLon: And you're going to learn that there is something unique about you, right? That makes you want, you start using that in your marketing and it's gonna start compelling people. It's gonna separate you from everybody else, right? Cuz we are our business. We are abs. And people buy you Cheryl exactly more than what you do.

    Michael DeLon: But in business we. We don't do that. We, we talk about our accolades and, and all, and nobody cares. I wanna know who you are. So it's hard to do that yourself, to find that yourself. Take a friend to lunch, have them ask you these questions, record them, listen to them. It's not that hard when you have a third party, and that's why we do what [00:13:00] we do.

    Michael DeLon: But you can do it yourself, right?

    Cheryl Mucha: Yeah. To, to get that, that pure honesty because you're just speaking with a friend.

    Michael DeLon: Absolutely. Absolutely. Because isn't that what business should be, you know, doing business with friends.

    Cheryl Mucha: Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. Um, I had another question and I just lost it. .

    Michael DeLon: Well, that's much you wanna talk about Michael?

    Michael DeLon: Yeah. My, my dad, my daddy would always say, Hey, if it's important, it'll come back to you. And, and it

    Cheryl Mucha: just did. So if I may, absolutely. So pandemic. Did what happened in your business? Did how? How did you have to pivot to reach those people? Cause now it wasn't a face-to-face interaction. It's a virtual interaction.

    Cheryl Mucha: We have to figure out how to do business. Mm-hmm. , what happened in your business?

    Michael DeLon: Yeah, our business grew dramatically over through Covid. Praise God. . And what we did to do that is I do a lot of video. Okay. I do, I do, uh, not only Zoom, right? I do [00:14:00] webinars, but I do a, I use a, a company called Loom, l o o m. And it, it's a video-based platform that allows me to send short videos through email that are really personal.

    Michael DeLon: And so

    Cheryl Mucha: I love that because I've gotten some of those videos and it. It's like, wow, like this is cool. Michael took the time to do this, and it's probably quicker than again, typing an email. But it's, it's so, um, memorable.

    Michael DeLon: Good. Thank you. I appreciate that. And that's exactly why I do it because you, you can't get this through email, right.

    Michael DeLon: And this is who I am. So I did that a lot. I started doing free, um, online trainings for, for my audience where for 25 minutes or so, I would teach on a topic of something and the only call to action at the end was like, you know, if you want more information, schedule a call with me. But I spent 20 to 25 minutes unpacking a marketing principle, like just what we talked about, how to clarify your message.

    Michael DeLon: I can talk about that forever. I spent 25 minutes talking about that, saying [00:15:00] this is what you need to do to start clarifying your message. Hey, in, in a couple weeks we're gonna come back and do another one. I did one on, on our gifting strategy cuz we send um, food items, gifts, in the mail to our, our, our prospects and our key influencers.

    Michael DeLon: And I, I did an entire training around that. That's been one of the most, um, watched trainings I've ever done. And it's free on my website and it teaches you how to show up differently because most business owners, Cheryl, are what I call coffee beans. Okay? I love coffee. But if you pour out coffee beans on your table, they'll look the same and they smell the same.

    Michael DeLon: Right? And in business, if you look like and sound like all of your competitors, you're not giving me a reason to lean in. Right. And, and you're not capturing my attention. And so our marketing systems and strategies that we teach our clients are all about showing up differently. Differently. Sometimes it's video, sometimes it's a thank you in the mail.

    Michael DeLon: Handwritten thank you, in the mail, right. Sometimes it's [00:16:00] a gift. Sometimes you lost art, right? Handwritten, oh, the lost art. Absolutely. And it, it's all of these different, what I would call old school systems of marketing that makes such a major impact. I, I, I was doing an interview yesterday, Cheryl and the host got on, and I was on his, he was on my podcast, I don't know, five, six months ago.

    Michael DeLon: And through my system of sending things to him and everything he gets on before we ever get on the podcast, he's like, Michael, dude, you're awesome. My kids love you because of the candy you send to me, you're a household name. I'm like, that's what I want. Here's the, the future

    Cheryl Mucha: entrepreneurs of the world already know you.

    Michael DeLon: he probably don't like, is that from Michael? So here's the principle behind all of that. If you win the heart, the mind will follow. Right. It's emotional. How much marketing is about the mind. We're trying to convince people No, no, no, no, no. Go after the heart [00:17:00] first. There comes a time to convince and lodge and, but it's, it's secondary, right?

    Michael DeLon: Wouldn't the heart. And most people don't do that.

    Cheryl Mucha: Great. Where can people find these recordings, uh, on your website? How does the audience get in touch with you? Sure.

    Michael DeLon: Paperback expert.com is our website. It's the central hub of all things, Michael, on that website, there's a credibility calculator you can take.

    Michael DeLon: It'll tell you your credibility score in under five minutes, and then we'll show you how to improve that score. There are free trainings. Go to the training staff. There are some free trainings that we do. You don't have to opt in or anything. You can just watch them and learn from them. You can always schedule a call with me.

    Michael DeLon: You can see what we do and how we can help you really clarify your message and position yourself as the expert in the eyes of your audience by creating your book without writing a word. So paperback expert.com.

    Cheryl Mucha: Michael, thank you so much. We [00:18:00] could talk on and on and on and on. Absolutely. Good. We'll have to do it again sometime. Absolutely, I would love to.

    Cheryl Mucha: But thank you for being here, and thank you to our audience for tuning in and be sure to visit Michael's website and check out those videos. I'm, I know there is a lot to be learned there. Michael is an expert. Thanks for tuning in to Pathways to Profitability Podcast, and we will see you all soon.

    That's it for today's episode of Pathways to Profitability. Remember to ask yourself, where can I pay my success forward today?

    18m | Feb 10, 2023
  • “Providing a Good Level of Service and Education”

    Episode 23: Mark Ridley, GreenShootsFX

    41m | Jan 31, 2023
  • “Solo Consulting Business”

    Episode 22: David Shriner-Cahn, Smashing the Plateau


    [00:00:00] Welcome to the Pathways to Profitability Podcast, personal Tales of Business Success, where we hear local business owners personal stories of their trials and tribulations that got them to where they are today. Here's your host, Cheryl Mucha, CEO of CFO Your way.

    Cheryl Mucha: Hello and thank you so much for being here today on the Pathways to Profitability Podcast.

    Cheryl Mucha: Our guest today is David Shriner-Cahn from Smashing the Plateau. David, thank you so much for being here with us today.

    David Shriner-Cahn: Thank you, Cheryl. Great to be here.

    Cheryl Mucha: So, I like to just give our audience a little bit of a background about David and Smashing the Plateau. If you could just give us a brief overview of those two things.

    David Shriner-Cahn: Yeah, absolutely. So, my career story is I spent the first 28 years of my career as an employee, first as an engineer for the first four to five years of my career. [00:01:00] Then in the non-profit sector in management and leadership roles. And then 16 years ago, in, in 2006, I left employment and started a solo consulting business that has evolved over the years, and particularly through content creation, primarily podcasting, which I started in 2014, that has led to a focus on helping consultants build their business following a late career job loss, and we launched a membership community for consultants earlier this year in January 2022.

    Cheryl Mucha: So David, you transferred from engineering non-for-profit world to being an entrepreneur. What was the impetus for that, that switchover?

    David Shriner-Cahn: So, the first switch from engineer to non-profit was, I was doing well as an engineer. And just after my second performance review, which was a very positive performance review, and I got a big raise, my boss called me into his office and he said, David, I have good news and bad news.

    David Shriner-Cahn: The good news is you're doing a [00:02:00] great job, the bad news is you don't have a job here anymore. Wow. And the reality is I was young and naive and not paying attention to the actual business of the company that I worked for. I was doing engineering, solving engineering job, right. Doing my job, doing well. And I didn't realize that the company had lost a lot of business and then had a big layoff.

    David Shriner-Cahn: And so I was one of the victims along with many other staff members. I did a lot of soul searching. I, I was looking ahead at, you know, do I really wanna do this for another 30 or 40 years? And actually there were a lot of layoffs going on in my industry. Particularly workers that were in their fifties that were a little short of being fully vested in their pension plans.

    David Shriner-Cahn: Cuz back in those days, companies had pension plans. And I'm like I don’t wanna do this. So I was thinking at least let me see if there's a way I can make a living doing something that I like better. Maybe there'll be, you know, better security. Maybe not, but at least I'll, I'll feel better about the work.

    David Shriner-Cahn: That's when I ended up in the nonprofit sector. Nice. And [00:03:00] you know, that experience really stayed with me and it colored a lot of what I did following that. And I also paid close attention to other layoffs that were going on around me in the workplace during my entire career. And I saw that in the not not-for-profit sector, many organizations behaved not all that much differently than public corporations or businesses in the private sector where loyalty to employees was not always that great.

    David Shriner-Cahn: And I really wanted to have more control over my destiny. I wanted to be in charge of figuring out how to actually put money in the bank. So the linear career progression for me would've been, you know, after I'd been in the nonprofit sector for over two decades, it would've been to go to a bigger organization in a similar role.

    David Shriner-Cahn: Or a higher level role in a similar size organization. And I had decided that what I really wanted to do was just become a solo consultant. I had hired many consultants over the course of my career. [00:04:00] I had friends that were consultants. I figured, you know, I could do the same thing I'm doing now. I liked what I was doing.

    David Shriner-Cahn: I was good at it. Let me just do it for multiple clients rather than doing it for one employer. And the trigger was that I did get pushed out of my last job. I saw it coming about a year before it happened. There was a new CEO and it was pretty clear that, yeah, there was some duplication of skillsets between me and the new CEO.

    David Shriner-Cahn: We got along well, to say, you know, as far as these exits are concerned, the agency was about as gracious as, as one might hope for, yet it was the actual trigger that caused me to open my business. Right. And also it was really painful and it was traumatic. And the, the thing that I, you know, years later I reflected back on the fact I didn't tell anybody that I, that my job was terminated.

    David Shriner-Cahn: I just said that I was leaving and I was starting a consulting business. Right. And most people that knew me, were like really surprised and like, well, why are you doing this? You, you've been at the same agency for 18 years. You know, you're well respected in the field. What, what's behind [00:05:00] this? And then it would say, well, what are you gonna do for health insurance?

    David Shriner-Cahn: And I'm like, well, you know, I could buy it. But you know, this, this kind of ties into what I had done much later in my consulting business when I started my podcast in 2014, Smashing the Plateau and started digging deeper into what does it take for people that are selling their expertise primarily as consultants, coaches, or, or some kinda solo or very small professional service business.

    David Shriner-Cahn: What does it take for them to be successful? And I discovered that my journey was actually quite common and that there were many people that I had known for a long time that were successful in their consulting business. It started their business when I got fired.

    Cheryl Mucha: David, you mentioned about, you know, the journey and how everyone's journey is kind of unique and I love hearing the stories.

    Cheryl Mucha: I mean, that's what the podcast is all about, the, the story of the journey. So, and your journey of course, was unique just like everyone else's, but tell us a little bit now about [00:06:00] post making that leap of faith into entrepreneurship and building the business, and a little bit about how you interact with your clients.

    David Shriner-Cahn: So Cheryl, I started my consulting business knowing what kind of work I wanted to do and what kinds of clients I wanted to serve. So I wanted to serve non-profit organizations, particularly those that were weak in their finances and their operations. That was my strength. But what I didn't have was a plan on lead generation.

    David Shriner-Cahn: Anything to do with marketing and sales. I knew about finance and operations. That was what I was good at. So when it came to like looking at my business' P&L I was fine. Which is you know, not the case with many people starting out. Now you're talking my language! Right. So, all of that stuff I understood quite well, but I was clueless about how to actually go about getting clients.

    David Shriner-Cahn: And I, and I didn't have any clients day one. I was starting from scratch.

    Cheryl Mucha: Yeah. And it's funny because [00:07:00] so many conversations I have with entrepreneurs, they go into business, I always say to build their widget, they're good at whatever, whatever that thing is. And they don't realize that we have to wear all those hats.

    Cheryl Mucha: The finance, the marketing, the IT, all those other things that come along with it. But we're good at what we do and we love what we do, right?

    David Shriner-Cahn: It's like the classic e-myth story. And, and I had no problem wearing all the hats. I just like, like with many of these, these things, we know what we know, we know what we don't know.

    David Shriner-Cahn: And now our plans are based on those things. We don't know what we don't know. And so like, I had a real epiphany about a year into my business, and by the way, I did get clients fairly early on, primarily through my network, which is how most consultants get started. I had an epiphany, a friend of. Who had a similar trajectory, leaving decades of employment and starting her own business, invited me to attend a business networking event.

    David Shriner-Cahn: And I had never been to an event like that. It was a BNI meeting. Many, many [00:08:00] people I think are familiar with the BNI business networking model. I walked into the room and I was, I was really blown away by the fact that here were, you know, there were probably 30 people in the room, all of whom were there to try to help their colleagues get leads through word of mouth marketing.

    David Shriner-Cahn: And I thought, oh, this is brilliant. And I joined and that was really a game changer for me when it came to marketing and sales, cuz it forced me to be much clearer on my positioning when I had to get up and give my first commercial. I was kind of clueless about how to do. And I'm sure it showed, but I got up and did it anyway.

    David Shriner-Cahn: And I, started to focus on, on how do I actually create a, a sensible elevator pitch that I can give in less than 60 seconds, and who do I actually want to serve and how do I find those people and how do I speak to those people? What are their pain points? So I started to learn a lot about marketing as a result of that.

    David Shriner-Cahn: [00:09:00] And I started picking up some private business clients as a result as well. So, you know, at the same time, I, my business shifted from just serving nonprofits to serving many of the kinds of folks that were both in the room at BNI and those people that they knew, which were mostly small businesses and frankly many solo businesses like mine.

    David Shriner-Cahn: So I ended up over time, not intentionally, but I ended up over time kind of becoming an expert in how you build a solo consulting business. Particularly when you have a career trajectory like mine where you spend 20 plus years in the organizational world, whether it's in, you know, large corporations, you know, small to mid-size businesses, the non-profit sector, but then you go from being an employee to being an entrepreneur.

    David Shriner-Cahn: And right, you could stay in the same discipline, but your mindset has to be totally different. You know, one of the things I say is when you're an employee, if you're wrong, more than 10% of the time, you get in trouble. And when you're an [00:10:00] entrepreneur, if you're right, more than 10% of the time, you're doing really well.

    David Shriner-Cahn: Right? It's like, it's, it's totally different. And you know, the, the kinds of, of activities that you need, need to be involved in are totally different. Your focus needs to be very different.

    Cheryl Mucha: I always say though too, that we need that experience as an employee in order to be the entrepreneur, like without that experience.

    Cheryl Mucha: Knowledge and maybe having a mentor to guide us and teach us, we wouldn't be prepared to be an entrepreneur. I mean, there's so many things with being an entrepreneur that we're not prepared for anyway, but you need that basis. You need those, those lessons, and some of them are life lessons, some of them are business lessons.

    Cheryl Mucha: There's so much that goes into our lives, that point of making that transition is at the time when we're ready.

    David Shriner-Cahn: Absolutely, I couldn't agree more, Cheryl.

    Cheryl Mucha: So I pulled a quote off your website, which I absolutely love, and I just wanna share it with our audience and maybe you can comment afterwards, but [00:11:00] it's, it's on the Smashing the Plateau website.

    Cheryl Mucha: Under the private community: “relationships with your peers is the foundation here. This is because we've heard and seen just how lonely a journey it can be for high achieving professionals to go from employment to consulting.” I love that quote because it is lonely being an entrepreneur and we need those like-minded business professionals around us, not necessarily to be clients, not necessarily to be someone that we hire to coach us, but just to have those conversations and throw ideas back and forth.

    David Shriner-Cahn: Yeah. When you think about it, when you're in an organization as an employee you had these water cooler conversations, whether they're structured or unstructured, and you go from a place where you are, particularly if you're a high achiever, you go from a place where your calendar is always full.

    David Shriner-Cahn: Your inbox is overflowing. You're [00:12:00] overwhelmed with the amount of things you need to do, and you have this building social structure. And then you walk out the door again, whether it's literal or figurative. You walk out the door and all of a sudden your inbox is empty, your calendar is empty, and you're spending all this time alone and your friends, quote unquote friends from your, your job, your last job suddenly start to ghost you.

    David Shriner-Cahn: All kinds of things go through your head. So literally it is lonely, especially at the beginning. But also you're trying to figure all these new things out and you need people to talk to about what you're going through. Absolutely. So, so you know what it is you need to figure out. I can't tell you how many times in a community someone has suggested something and someone else says, oh, I never even thought of that.

    David Shriner-Cahn: That's such a great idea. Right.

    Cheryl Mucha: It's bring great minds together. Exactly. And every, again, everyone's experience is a little bit different, but we've all experienced it. Exactly. So, David, thank you so much for being here today. Just share with our audience how they get in touch with [00:13:00] you and any last minute comments or things you wanna share with our audience.

    David Shriner-Cahn: Absolutely. Yeah, so smashingtheplateau.com is the repository of everything related to what we're doing. We have many hundreds of podcast episodes on all topics related to entrepreneurship, particularly for consultants, coaches, and solo professionals. And we also have information about the Smashing the Plateau community where like-minded folks spend a lot of time.

    Cheryl Mucha: Thank you again David for being here. I really enjoyed our conversation and thank you to our audience for tuning in to Pathways to Profitability podcast. Have a wonderful day.

    Cheryl Mucha: That's it for today's episode of Pathways to Profitability. Remember to ask yourself, where can I pay my success forward today?

    13m | Jan 19, 2023
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    Episode 21: Brody Smith, Podcast Production & Marketing | Stream Your Stories

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  • “Reaching Your Full Potential”

    Episode 20: Michele Mollard, Professional EOS Implementer | Sherpa LLC

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  • “A Path With Twists and Curves”

    Episode 19: Erica Holthausen, Catchline Communications

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  • “Having a Niche for Each Thing I Do”

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  • “We Partner with Our Clients”

    Episode 17: Rachel Anevski, Matters of Management

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Pathways to Profitability Podcast: Personal Tales of Business Success